Saturday, October 06, 2007

Stronger than Fiction

What should we teach our children as the truth? Facts, based upon science, or some fantasy, based upon delusion? This is increasingly the dilemma in more and more of our schools, as the nonsense of creationism and 'intelligent design' are promoted as truth, spurred on by a combination of pressure from religious groups and relativists who require us to respect the beliefs of others, even if they are utter rubbish.

Most of the pressure comes specifically from christian fundamentalists and, increasingly, muslims, and is applied either by organisations promoting this drivel or by parents who are deluded enough to believe in it. Their methods are either to set up schools dedicated to peddling their ideas or, worse still, to pressurise our education authorities to include them in the state school curriculum, as highlighted by this BBC report this week. We must fight against this insidious attack upon our childrens' education, and resist the calls of misguided relativists who value 'cultural harmony' above the truth.

Now, if an adult wants to believe that the world was created 6000 years ago in six days by some mysterious sky-god, then I won't force reality upon them, but if our children are denied the truth then that is plain wrong. And it is not good enough if they are taught evolution and creationism/intelligent design in the alternative - there is no place in our science teaching for anything that has no basis in fact. And if a child of christian or muslim parents (I refuse to call them 'a christian child' or 'a muslim child' - no child should have a religious label foisted upon them) should question scientific teaching then it should be explained to them that creationism and intelligent design are simply not true, so that the teacher can get on with teaching the truth.

4 comments:

  1. The website which has been tracking this for some time and contains extensive background is:

    British Centre for Science Education
    http://bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/HomePage

    Their news section also links to a YouTube article which includes a briefing, a radio interview and a short presentation on why creationism is throwback that Northern Ireland cannot afford to indulge in.

    Here is the YouTube
    Creationism in Northern Ireland
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGF2AxlQsYE

    Here is the young councillor who has a degree in business studies and proposes to improve education in the region by putting the clock back.
    Paul Givan
    http://www.dup.org.uk/CanProfile.asp?CandidateID=83

    ReplyDelete
  2. John,

    You are buying in to too much of the creationist's argument (and too much of Dworkin's I might add). These are not religious arguments. These are fundamentalist arguments. There is (there should be) a difference.

    Judaism says that the creation story is not told in order to teach the sequence of creation. Moreover, when an early commentator supposed that the creation of the heaven was a separate creation, he was refuted later when science revealed that there was no separate heavenly sphere, but that the heavenly bodies are made of the same stuff as the earth.

    Put as you have put it, the conflict between 'religion' and 'reality' assists only fundamentalists of either stripe.

    The truth is that a belief in divine creation is perfectly compatible with a belief in science. The question is whether science insists that its current theses are true for all time. 50 years ago no scientist of repute would have agreed that the universe had a beginning at all (dangerous religious superstition). Today...

    Moreover, my kids are Jewish kids. They are also English kids, or is that a problem too? Also they are middle-class. Also they are girls, and I currently suppose them to be heterosexual and treat them accordingly.

    I entirely agree with you that teaching children rubbish is to be discouraged. But it is also rubbish to deny a child the identity it takes from a (hopefully, and usually) loving and secure home environment. I don't need teachers refusing to accept what my children are, and it doesn't assist if they insist on doing so. That is a great example of misguided cultural harmony.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry, but I don't agree with you at all:

    1. Any religious person of reasonable intelligence will now understand that the creation story is nonsense, but that is because it has been proved to be so by scientific advance. It seems to me that if such a basic precept of an ideology is proved to be rubbish, then the whole thing falls like a pack of cards. Of course, supporters of the ideology then try to prevent this by saying that it was not meant to be 'literal'.

    2. I do not accept that a belief in 'divine creation' is at all compatible with a belief in science. Science is based upon evidence, and there is no evidence whatsoever for 'divine creation'. Science most certainly does not insist that its theories are true for all time - that is the point: science is always open to new evidence.

    3. Your children are not 'Jewish kids', they are kids of parents who believe in Judaism, and wish to perpetuate that belief (as required by the religion) by indoctrinating them, using 'identity' as an excuse. Would you call the children of parents who believe in Marxism 'Marxist kids'?

    ReplyDelete

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